I hope you’ve all had a productive working week. Today I’m sharing another exciting Behind the Biz interview. This is my weekly interview series where I discover awesome businesses, the people behind them and their business journey. Today we’re diving back into the food industry, more specifically, the world of Pork Scratchings.
In today’s interview I’m chatting with Nick Coleman, the founder of Snaffling Pig.
Please tell us about your business.
Hello. Snaffling Pig was put on this planet to take the humble but awesome pork scratching to places it’s never been before. Pork Scratchings are amazing and they have a really passionate customer base, but for way too long no company ever gave them the love they deserve. We decided two years ago to right that wrong. We take premium cuts of double cooked pork and season with the most moreish of flavourings, presented in ways you never thought you’d see pork scratchings, from foil packets, glass gifting jars and even an A3 advent calendar.
Where did the inspiration for Snaffling Pig come from?
The initial seed was planted playing darts in the pub with my Dad, with few beers and a couple of packets of scratchings. I was loving what I was eating but I knew they could be made better. At the time the popcorn industry was doubling in size with brands adding flavours and creating an exciting point of difference to what was already there and the craft beer movement was huge.
Then it hit me. We could flavour premium hand cooked scratchings and create a craft snack to complement craft beer. But the idea is only one part of it. What I needed was a brand people could believe in that created conversation. Cue Andrew Allen, a long term friend from Uni who was currently launching his digital marketing agency and working on some of the UK’s biggest food brands. He didn’t need a lot of persuading and set to work designing our brand. In those initial first weeks we thrashed out our purpose and focussed our attention on how we could innovate.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
Now this is a typical example of how entrepreneurs have to learn hard lessons quickly and move on. When we launched we had another name. Although trademarked, it wasn’t as locked down as it needed to be and we managed to ruffle a few feathers. We took the situation on the chin and 6 months later we had a new name logo and look. Not a situation I enjoyed but those experiences help to shape us as people and as a business.
What did you do before starting Snaffling Pig?
Back in PAYE world I worked as a Buyer at M&S. Then in 2010, I co-founded Medical Supermarket; a wholesaler focused on selling medical, cleaning and stationery supplies. The business is still growing and doing incredibly well but I was keen to start a food business. The food industry is so exciting and I wanted to be a part of it. I therefore had a bet with my business partner that with a £500 seed investment I could launch a food a business and he’d buy me a steak dinner. Still waiting for that rib eye!
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
I think I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. When I was 12 I sold sweets at school, at 23 I made orange juice, 24, I started a property company. When I worked at M&S I was quite happy to just work my way up the corporate ladder. However something just clicked one day and I took that leap of faith to never be an employee ever again.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
We don’t know what we don’t know. When we first started out it’s difficult to understand and then keep on top of everything we need to run the business, from the financial to changes in health and safety legislation. That’s why it was really important for us to invest in empowered staff that can do the right thing for the business.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
The highlight has to be seeing Phil & Holly on ITV This Morning cracking into our pork scratching advent calendar. We had no idea it was going to be on and only knew something big must have happened when we took 15% of our previous year’s turnover in an afternoon. I think we high fived grabbed a cup of tea and then went into full on operations mode to ensure we could fulfil the orders.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media is huge for us. We are very careful not to over use it and create content nobody wants to read so we make sure we only talk when we have something to say. That has led to a very loyal and engaged group of followers. We stick to the main sites of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and each one has unique content that is best suited to that platform. Personally I use Linked In everyday and find it invaluable in finding trade contacts.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be genuine and true to yourself. Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do you want to right a wrong, be disruptive, have fun, create something from nothing, be proud? Whatever your reasons think about why your business should then exist. What’s your purpose? Understanding the reason why customers should buy from you will then help you map out how and what they buy from you.
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
We just want to continue to expand on our brand, innovate in ways no one thought possible and deliver the very best product in the market. I’m so deeply proud of what we have done in such a short amount of time and it’s down to the hard work of our staff and suppliers. The year ahead is going to be a lot of fun.
I want to say a huge thank you to Nick for getting involved with Behind the Biz. I really enjoyed finding out all about Snaffling Pig and love that the business was started on the back of a £500 bet. This is exactly why I started this series, to find out what motivates someone to start a business, how they tackle challenges and to inspire others. I look forward to seeing the company grow throughout the next year.
If you fancy getting involved with Behind The Biz please leave a comment below, send me an email or drop me a message over on Twitter.